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film review
  • Sometimes I Think About Dying
  • Directed by Rachel Lambert
  • Written by Kevin Armento, Stefanie Abel Horowitz, and Katy Wright-Mead, based on the play Killers by Kevin Armento
  • Starring Daisy Ridley, Dave Merheje and Meg Stalter
  • Classification N/A; 91 minutes

An adaptation of Kevin Armento’s 2013 play Killers – a two-headed narrative of a woman with a strong desire to kill and a suicidal woman trying to pursue an office romance – Sometimes I Think About Dying retells the story of the latter, Fran (Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley). A gauche and nondescript office worker, she sinks into elaborate fantasies of her own death: hanging from a crane; a python at her feet; a headwound; a car crash.

Directed by Rachel Lambert, the film surveys Fran’s antisocial habits as she takes interest in the new hire Robert (Dave Merheje), whose breezy disposition seems to quietly stir something inside her. But as the pair begin to date, Fran’s maladaptive daydreaming interferes with her ability to communicate; Robert wants to wax poetic on arthouse cinema, while she cannot put forward a single palatable hobby.

Crucially, we rarely see Fran’s imagined deaths, rather, brief signifiers of self-harm and stylized vignettes of her corpse sprawled over rocks and soil. Hers is not a fixation on violence or even death so much as sensation and the viscosity of existence; Fran’s routine feels so unremarkable and small that the notion of stretching her legs into the afterlife may be a relief.

We are meant to share in Fran’s ennui; the sound of office chatter and corporate-speak is grating, and the most thrilling incident is some light flirting about curds versus cheese. However, the film’s intended unpleasantness can move from deadpan – at times reminiscent of Swedish director Roy Andersson’s austere and anemic images – to laborious or dispossessed of meaning.

It’s easy to imagine Sometimes I Think About Dying as a stage play, but the film is well-served by Lambert’s eye for subtle misery and her attention to Fran’s wandering gaze. But the film does not heed Fran’s own dilemma of detachment and forced aloofness: “Do you wish you could un-know me?” she asks Robert, to which he replies, “I don’t know you.”

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